Wedding Music Selection Tip – Make it Personal!

This past week I sat in on a meeting between my clients, Heather & Tom, and  their DJ. We went over who was going to make a grand entrance after cocktail hour and in what order, their fist dance, the special dances, and all the music in between. Music, of course, is very important to a reception. You want your guests to be out on the dance floor moving and shaking! The right music can leave a lasting impression on your guests and make it a party they will not soon forget.

How many times, when put on the spot about a song title, do we all seem to draw a blank and can’t think of one?  So, when the DJ was asking my clients what songs they want playing for their entrance or the entrance of their parents, grandparents , etc.,   they were at a loss.  I then asked them questions to help them come up with some selections ;  what kind artist or style of music do their parents like or what was their wedding songs? Immediately the bride began to laugh and say that her parents , and particularly her mother’s , favorite artist was kind of embarrassing;  Engelbert Humperdinck. She then told the story of how she dragged her poor father out to see him and snag an autograph.  And so, I suggested that they choose an Englebert song for her parents introduction. She thought it was a fantastic idea and that her mother would love it and probably wouldn’t believe that the DJ was playing it.  I told them to keep it a secret  so that she would be surprised and the rest of the family would get a good laugh at the song selection, especially if they know how crazy she is for him.

Guests having a great time at the Mauch Chunk Ballroom

Guests having a great time at the Mauch Chunk Ballroom (photo by

Another one of his groomsmen goes by a special  nickname in which there is a theme song  associated ( I don’t want to give it away till after the wedding!) , so I suggested that song for his entrance. Since everyone at the wedding knows him and his nickname,  it too would get a good chuckle.   I carried the same idea over to the other portions of the night where a special song is selected to accompany the moment.  For example, since the groom’s grandmother is the only surving grandparent on either side, he wants to dance a special dance with her following the cake cutting.   I suggested that he find out what her favorite artist or song is, or even what song played at the first dance at her wedding to his grandfather.  And, yes, the Bride and Groom went home with some homework assignments from their wedding planner!

Personally, and from past experiences, these little moments are what makes a wedding so memorable because it really reaches down and gets personal for  the Bride & Groom as well as the family and friends that have joined them in their special day. Songs can conjure up so many wonderful memories  and playing those songs will leave a smile and even a tear of joy in your guests eyes.  Showing parents and family members that you were paying attention and know their favorite songs or first dances makes them feel special and loved by you.  And, as long as there is nothing offensive in any of the song titles chosen, nothing is off limits.  Here are a few thoughts to keep in mind when selecting various songs for different segments of the evening at the reception:

  • For your parents introduction you may want to think about what their favorite song or favorite artist is.  If they have obscure, off the wall tastes that is even better!  Any good DJ, particularly those that work with digital files, should be able to get it.
  • What special song represents an inside joke for you and the bridesmaid/groomsmen , friends or family?   Think of  events in your life or any memorable moments; a night out at a club, a song you would always rock out to together, or road trip sing-a-longs. Think about what music or songs  you have associated with those moments.   You can have  it played when they are introduced.  Other examples;  your favorite song or artist you worshipped when you were like 12!  Or an artist that he/she was obsessed with.  The cheesier, the better.  Nostalgia is always a winner! And, if no one gets the selection other than you and the person you are playing it for, well that makes it a special *wink* moment; a private joke  between you and your bridesmaid/groomsmen.
  • If introducing your parents as a couple, what was their wedding song?  This may require some investigation on your part,but it would be worth it.
  • What are the wedding songs of some of your guests, particularly Aunts, Uncles or Grandparents?  You could have their song played sometime in the evening and  have the DJ give them a nod by mentioning that it is their song and how many years they have been married.

Of course, these tips don’t only apply during introductions or special moments, but these questions can help you decide what songs to play throughout the night during what  is called the “free dance” period.  And , of course, think of all the songs that mattered to you as a couple;  think about what music/artist or songs reflect your journey together so far and where you want to go.  Ask each others friends and family members what songs, artists they used to like as kids and have them put on the “play list” . For  a little added umphf, surprise each other by having those songs from their childhood  added to the play list in secret. You can even tell the DJ to make some sort of announcement to “dedicate” this song to the other with a little anecdote, if there is one attached to the song/memory.

I say go ahead and make it personal!  Create your own soundtrack for the evening as if you are in the movie of your life together and enjoy it all!

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